Technology Not Trump Won The Election

Desperation about jobs drove millions of people to vote for Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. But the advance of technology and its damaging effect on jobs is the real driver of new voting patterns.

A different kind of politics

People voted in the hope that a different President would bring back jobs for those who have been left behind over recent decades.

But they don’t see the havoc technology wreaks or appreciate that even Presidents can’t hold back the trends of digital disruption.

Hilary Clinton’s offer disappointed anxious voters as the bleak tenor of her rhetoric failed to convince or excite.

At a time when millions of people worry about not having a job or work in jobs that pay little, the political system must rethink its efforts to create new jobs.

Trump’s victory stems from his ability to tap into people’s anger and connect through simple but effective sound bites that offer messages of hope.

Electoral success came at a time when millions of people are struggling to understand why so many jobs have vanished and why they will never return.

Trump introduced a new and ugly form of politics shaped by bigotry, fear and prejudice, which resonated with voters distressed by the rush of technology.

The probability of a Trump victory was slight as was Brexit but both have happened and as a result the world is a materially different place.

Whether such difference is good or bad will be revealed in time but it’s clear that technology now plays a key role in the political agenda and in how people vote.

A different kind of world

Technology is making the world a more insecure, intolerant and unforgiving place as it entrenches inequality in the workplace.

Large parts of the population feel abandoned, as they have neither the capacity nor the capital to work towards financial independence.

The spread of technology is intensifying the demand for skilled workers while decreasing demand for those without the required talents.

Technology today favours those with high-level skills and forces lower skilled workers to upgrade or struggle to make a living.

Soft skills such as empathy and communication are also in demand, as they add value to a workplace populated by automation and artificial intelligence.

Technology, however, doesn’t exist in a vacuum and government often provides support, so politicians too must understand the effect of their decisions.

The difference in this era is that technology has developed to a more sophisticated level of job destruction as it hollows-out the economic middle.

It is also shifting the nature of employment from full-time, long-term, regular jobs to part-time, short-term, flexible contracts with few benefits.

This new type of work is streaming through the economy as the numbers of jobs reduce and self-employment and entrepreneurship flourish as a way to survive and, at times, thrive.

All of which means technology is changing traditional work habits, magnifying the frustration of voters, altering voting patterns and thus the nature of politics.

So, technology rather than Trump determined the outcome of the election and it will continue to do so as the economy loses its hallowed middle ground.